Should Christians express indignation against God’s plan?

Why do self-proclaimed Calvinists express disapproval and indignation against that which they believe God has unchangeably brought to pass for His own self-glorification?

  • It certainly seems reasonable for non-Calvinist to disapprove of the autonomous behavior of evil men who openly rebel against the will of God and seek to cause destruction.
  • It does not seem reasonable, however, for a Calvinist to express disapproval and disgust for that which he dogmatically believes was planned and brought about by God for His own self-glorification.

*Sidebar: Yes, mainstream Calvinists (including Calvin himself) have clearly and unequivocally taught that God “sovereignly plans and controls every meticulous detail,” including every evil intention of every creature, in order to glorify Himself. If you consider yourself a “Calvinist” but disagree with these claims of leading Calvinistic scholars, great! May I suggest you join me in my rebuke instead of accusing me of not really understanding Calvinism?[1]

When I proclaim my indignation against some evil atrocity (such as abortion, rape, murder or torture) I am expressing disapproval of what I believe is man’s autonomously evil choices, which stand diametrically opposed to our Holy God and His perfect will. When my Calvinistic friends, however, express similar disapproval for atrocities, they are projecting horrified indignation of that which they believe God has unchangeably planned, controlled and brought about for His own self-glorification. In short, Calvinists are expressing indignation against God and His self-glorifying plans.

How can Calvinists do this with any level of rationality or consistency?

I recently pressed a Calvinistic friend on this question and he repeatedly appealed to the crucifixion, arguing in part, “Wouldn’t you have been horrified and disappointed by the crucifixion of Jesus, yet wasn’t that brought about by the determination of God?”

I said, “I would have expressed indignation until the point I realized it was God’s plan and then I would stop bemoaning it and start telling everyone about it, just like the apostles did.” Then, I simply pointed to the cross hanging around his neck and asked, “If you are still horrified and disappointed by the crucifixion, why are you wearing that cross?”

My Calvinistic friend and I are not disappointed by what God did to redeem the world from sin through Calvary. We both want that event to be known by everyone. Why? Because we now know it was God’s fulfillment of His redemptive promise! The story of the cross stands out as unique part of God’s good plan to redeem all sin, not as the proof of God being the cause of all sin.

A Calvinist would never wear a symbol of abortion, child rape, the Holocaust or other such evil events around his neck, yet by his own logic these atrocities were equally brought about by God for His own self-exaltation. Proof that God worked in some way to “bring about” the redemption of man’s sinful actions on Calvary certainly does not prove that God works to “bring about” the very sins that His Son died to redeem.

Scriptures reveal that God temporarily blinded the rebellious Israelites from recognizing their own Messiah so as to ensure the crucifixion would take place, and who are we to question God’s sinless means in doing so? (Rom. 3:1-8; Rom. 9 — READ THIS for more)  But proof that God “brought about” the redemption of man’s sinful actions on Calvary certainly does not prove that God “brought about” the very sins that His Son died to redeem.

This is a common error of Calvinists.  They take unique examples of God working to bring about a good purpose through the ALREADY evil intentions of mankind as proof that God (1) “sovereignly brought about” the evil intentions themselves and (2) that He “sovereignly works” in this same way at all times throughout history. In other words, if Calvinism is true then God worked to “sovereignly bring about” the redemption of a child abuser in the same way that He worked to “sovereignly bring about” the abuse of that child. This flies in the face of so much of what we read in scripture about the character and holiness of our God. (CLICK HERE for more on this)

According to Calvinists, God seems to be “sovereignly working” so as to redeem “His sovereign workings.” (i.e. God is sovereignly working to bring about redemption so as to redeem the sins that He sovereignly worked to bring about.) Is God merely determining to redeem His own determinations?  Of course not!

AN ANALOGY TO CONSIDER

Appealing to God’s sovereign work to ensure the redemption of sin so as to prove that God sovereignly works to bring about all the sin that was redeemed is an absurd, self-defeating argument. It would be tantamount to arguing that because a police department set up a sting operation to catch a notorious drug dealer, that the police department is responsible for every single intention and action of that drug dealer at all times. Proof that the police department worked in secretive ways to hide their identities, use evil intentions, and work out the circumstances in such a way that the drug dealer would do what they wanted him to do (sell drugs) at that particular moment in time does not suggest that the police are in anyway responsible for all that drug dealer has done or ever will do. We celebrate and reward the actions of this police department because they are working to stop the drug activity, not because they are secretly causing all of it so as to stop some of it. Teaching that God brings about all sin based on how He brought about Calvary is like teaching that the police officer brings about every drug deal based on how he brought about one sting operation.

Yes, at times the scriptures do speak of God “hardening” men’s hearts (Ex. 7; Rm. 9), blinding them with a “spirit of stupor” (Rm. 11:8) and delaying their healing by use of parabolic language (Mk. 4:11-12, 34; Matt. 16:20), and He always does so for a redemptive good. But, the reason such passages stand out so distinctly from the rest of scripture is because of their uniqueness. If God worked this way in every instance these texts would make no sense. After all, what is there for God to harden, provoke, or restrain if not the autonomous will of creatures?

If everything is under the meticulous control of God’s sovereign work what is left to permit and/or restrain except that which He is already controlling? Is God merely restraining something that He previously determined? Why blind eyes from seeing something the were “naturally” predetermined not to see? Why put a parabolic blind fold on a corpse-like dead sinner incapable of seeing spiritual truth? These are questions many Calvinists seem unwilling to entertain at any depth.

We must understand that God, like the police department in the analogy above, may be hiding His identity at times and working to use the evil intentions of bad men for a greater good, but that in no way impugns His character by suggesting He is “the cause of all things that are.” And it certainly does not suggest that every evil desire and intention is “brought about to glorify God” as explicitly taught by Calvinism’s actual claims reflected in the quotes provided in the footnotes of this article.

ANTICIPATED OBJECTION: “YOU TOO!”

Please notice I said “Calvinism’s ACTUAL CLAIMS.” I want to draw everyone’s attention to that because what typically follows this line of argumentation is a Calvinist’s appeal to the “you too fallacy” (i.e. “you too” have the same problem because you affirm omniscience.) But be aware, I am opposing an ACTUAL CLAIM of Calvinism and Calvinists are attempting to argue that I have the same problem based NOT ON OUR ACTUAL CLAIMS, but based on their own philosophical speculation about the infinite nature of divine omniscience (i.e. if God knows something and does not prevent it, that somehow proves that He brought it about for His own self-glorification). Notice, however, that none of our scholars ACTUALLY MAKE THIS CLAIM, therefore the Calvinistic argument is fallacious because it assumes true the very position we oppose (see question begging fallacy). If Calvinists are going to oppose our position they have to deal with the ACTUAL CLAIMS of our scholars, not their own philosophical conclusions about our beliefs. In making this “you too” argument, the Calvinist has unwittingly become guilty of the very straw-man fallacy they often attempt to lay on us.


[1]  Here is where I am often met with the accusation of misrepresentation — or what is known as the fallacy of “strawmanning.” I suspect, however, that those bringing that accusation either (1) do not rightly understand Calvinism and Calvinistic scholar’s ACTUAL CLAIMS or they (2) do not really affirm the ACTUAL CLAIMS of John Calvin and most of the Calvinistic scholars, but have adopted a much milder, more palatable, and arguably inconsistent form of the systematic. (If it is the second, however, I cannot help but wonder why would they not stand with me in opposition to the ACTUAL CLAIMS of Calvinism rather than accusing me of not understanding it rightly?)

For instance, let’s consider this quote from John Piper’s ministry website, Desiring God:

“God . . . brings about all things in accordance with his will. In other words, it isn’t just that God manages to turn the evil aspects of our world to good for those who love him; it is rather that he himself brings about these evil aspects for his glory (see Ex. 9:13-16; John 9:3) and his people’s good (see Heb. 12:3-11; James 1:2-4). This includes—as incredible and as unacceptable as it may currently seem—God’s having even brought about the Nazis’ brutality at Birkenau and Auschwitz as well as the terrible killings of Dennis Rader and even the sexual abuse of a young child…” (Link)— Mark R. Talbot, “’All the Good That Is Ours in Christ’: Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do to Us,” in John Piper and Justin Taylor (eds.), Suffering and the Sovereignty of God (Wheaton: Crossway, 2006), 31-77 (quote from p. 42).

On the one hand we know that Piper has at times expressed disappointment and disgust for the Holocaust and the sexual abuse of children, while on the other hand claiming these same events have been brought about by a God seeking His own glory. Therefore, Piper has expressed disapproval and disgust of what God has planned and brought about for His own glorification. As I said, Calvinists are the ones expressing disapproval of God’s plans, not me.

John Calvin himself taught:

“Creatures are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 16, Paragraph 3)

“thieves and murderers, and other evildoers, are instruments of divine providence, being employed by the Lord himself to execute judgments which he has resolved to inflict.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 17, Paragraph 5)

“We hold that God is the disposer and ruler of all things, –that from the remotest eternity, according to his own wisdom, He decreed what he was to do, and now by his power executes what he decreed.  Hence we maintain, that by His providence, not heaven and earth and inanimate creatures only, but also the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined.” (John Calvin,Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 16, Paragraph 8)

“The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly, are in all directions, held in by the hand of God as with a bridle, so that they can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how muchsoever they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as he permits, nay unless in so far as he commands, that they are not only bound by his fetters but are even forced to do him service” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 17, Paragraph 11)

“…it is very wicked merely to investigate the causes of God’s will. For his will is, and rightly ought to be, the cause of all things that are.”…”For God’s will is so much the highest rule of righteousness that whatever he wills, by the very fact that he wills it, must be considered righteous. When, therefore, one asks why God has so done, we must reply: because he has willed it. But if you proceed further to ask why he so willed, you are seeking something greater and higher than God’s will, which cannot be found.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

“Many professing a desire to defend the Deity from an individual charge admit the doctrine of election, but deny that any one is reprobated. This they do ignorantly and childishly, since there could be no election without its opposite, reprobation.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

“…it is utterly inconsistent to transfer the preparation for destruction to anything but God’s secret plan… God’s secret plan is the cause of hardening.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 2, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

“I admit that in this miserable condition wherein men are now bound, all of Adam’s children have fallen by God’s will.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 4)

“With Augustine I say: the Lord has created those whom he unquestionably foreknew would go to destruction. This has happened because he has willed.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 5)

“…individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction.” (John Calvin,Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6)

“…it is vain to debate about prescience, which it is clear that all events take place by his sovereign appointment.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6)

“But since he foresees future events only by reason of the fact that he decreed that they take place, they vainly raise a quarrel over foreknowledge, when it is clear that all things take place rather by his determination and bidding.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6)

“Again I ask: whence does it happen that Adam’s fall irremediably involved so many peoples, together with their infant offspring, in eternal death unless because it so pleased God? The decree is dreadful indeed, I confess. Yet no one can deny that God foreknew what end man was to have before he created him, and consequently foreknew because he so ordained by his decree. And it ought not to seem absurd for me to say that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his descendants, but also meted it out in accordance with his own decision.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 7)

“The first man fell because the Lord deemed it meet that he should.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 8)

“Even though by God’s eternal providence man has been created to undergo that calamity to which he is subject, it still takes its occasion from man himself, not from God, since the only reason for his ruin is that he has degenerated from God’s pure creation into vicious and impure perversity.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 9)

Now, before moving on, I hope all those who proudly wear the label “Calvinist” can rightly understand what I am opposing here. I have not misrepresented or “strawmanned” Calvinism. John Piper is arguably the most influential modern day proponent of Calvinism and he is representing exactly what John Calvin himself taught on this subject in the quotes above (all of which are properly cited for contextual examination). Both of these Calvinistic scholars are abundantly clear about what they believe.

I am not suggesting a “Calvinist” must agree with John Piper or even John Calvin on every theological point in order to be considered a “Calvinist.” But if you are going to proudly promote this label shouldn’t you at least affirm the basic theological claims over the issues that make Calvinism so controversial in the church?  The major reason we even know of John Calvin and “Calvinism” is because of his controversial views over predestination, election, free will, sovereignty, etc.  If you cannot affirm his statements on at least those issues, then may I suggest you stop promoting the label “Calvinist?” Or, if nothing else, at least stop accusing people like myself of not really understanding Calvinism? <READ THIS for more>

 

88 thoughts on “Should Christians express indignation against God’s plan?

      1. Because God has called us to be angry at injustice.

        And in Isaiah 40-48, He declares the basics of being God, which is telling what will happen in the future, and the purpose for which things happened in the past, as well as creating light and evil.

        He commands us to keep the innocent from going to slaughter.

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      2. Joseph Hamrick, how is it injustice when your calvinist god ordained that very evil? Shouldn’t you be praising your calvinist god for every act of evil and atrocity? For it is for his glory! And not only did he ordained those very evil acts, he performed them by means of human instrumentality. Who are you, oh man Joseph, to say to the calvinist potter, thou shalt not rape little children? Your god does as he pleases and it pleased him to rape little children for his own glory. So who are you oh man Joseph, to stay his hand or shake your fist at the heavens and scream INJUSTICE!?

        Calvinism is a gross misunderstanding the Most Holy God and the Bible. Please do not disregard the logical inconsistencies in this system. I don’t think you truly understand what you believe and its logical implications and applications. For the sake of the little boy sitting on the shoulders of the man in your photo, please reconsider your religion and your theology.

        “You either have a God who sends child rapists to rape children or you have a God who simply watches it and says, ‘When you’re done, I’m going to punish you.’ If I could stop a person from raping a child, I would. That’s the difference between me and your God.”
        — Tracie Harris, The Atheist Experience

        Even an Atheist cares more for that little boy then the calvinist god.

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  1. I thought of this very concept today when I passed the people standing on the street holding anti-abortion, or pro-life signs. Since my former Calvinist pastor signed up to run this event in his (my former) community, it is usually he and his Calvinist members who are the majority of the ‘protesters’. They do not appear to grasp the absurdity of Calvinists protesting anything, since their theology asserts that God ordained all things, which would include abortions (which at least the pastor knows, even if the congregation is ignorant thereof).

    Then, there is the even greater absurdity of protesting the murder of the unborn, when they worship a God whom they assert (again, I realize that many do not understand their own theology) preordains countless millions to death before they are ever born. Let’s be real – Calvinists have no right to condemn abortion, as it appears to be the same way God works, throwing away countless numbers of lives who he does not value.

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  2. I have already shared in this blog how a Calvinist pastor friend of mine was counseling with a teary-eyed couple. The husband had been cheating on the wife for years with multiple women.

    The wife was looking to the pastor for help, and the husband was reminding the pastor that (according to the teaching of the pastor for years) since this had already happened it must have been preordained by God.

    Not much wiggle room there for the Calvinist pastor who had been so adamant about God ordaining evil to bring about His glory.

    He no doubt consulted Piper’s blogs on the (philosophical) two-wills-of-God….. but I doubt that any will by any name was a consolation to the wife!

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    1. FOH, I had not read that part of your story before, but it certainly represents the logical conclusion of Calvinist theology, when consistently believed and applied (which is rare).

      The damages that come from Calvinism go beyond the discrediting and belittling of God’s goodness and sacrificial love, which are bad enough. The thinking that asserts that one’s sin no longer matters, that you are given a ‘robe of righteousness’ under which all manner of evil can be hidden, tends to promote – wait for it – all manner of evil.

      In reality, the entirety of scripture and God’s workings with men teach the destructive power of sin, and God’s intention to overcome it for the sake of sinful man, whom he loves. Only a diabolical mind would assert that the sin that is so heinous it required the shedding of the most precious blood of God’s non-rebellious Son can then be blithely tolerated and overlooked. Far from this false claim, scripture’s command is always to turn from sin, to leave the paths of wickedness and demonstrate the love for God and others that genuine repentance from sin gives birth to.

      No sin is from God, nor did it ever come from his mind or imagination that men should murder, rape, oppress and abuse one another as men do. Always, always, always, such behavior is condemned and men are commanded to turn from it to a life of sacrificial love, putting others’ needs before their own. That is what walking with God looks like; it really requires little, if any, doctrine to explain or understand Jesus’ very simple commandments to love God and love others as self. In my fifteen years in Calvinism, I do not recall ever being challenged to love or serve others. My pastor even had the gall to state outright that the most important need in so-called ‘Christianity’ is personal piety, which is the same error he so often condemned in the holiness church in which I was raised. I found myself looking around in astonishment at all the other former ‘holiness’ folk in the crowd, wanting to shout ‘Did you hear what he just said?’

      Folks need to head for the doors when their ‘teacher’ asserts that the christian life is all about legalistic piety – which I finally did. I am still undoing the lifetime of false teaching that trained me to live life with my eyes on the mirror, rather than looking to the needs of those who do not know and understand the love and hope of God. Had God’s main interest been creating pious believers, he could have crated a magic ‘regeneration wand’ that actually works, rather than one that can’t quite get the job done, leaving his ‘elect’ as sinful as the ‘reprobate’.

      Funny that – when the elect are still ‘dead’ to God, they are alive only to sin. When they become ‘alive’ unto God, you would think they would become ‘dead’ to sin. Oh, I get it, that’s why they came up with the nonsense about God’s needing sinful men to bring him ‘glory’, cause obviously we would never understand the ‘goodness’ of God if we did not have the dualism of evil to compare it to. Hence Luther’s ‘sin boldly’ nonsense which should have – sorry to have to say it – torpedoed Lutheranism along with Calvinism long ago.

      The more I understand Protestantism, which is one tiny step from Romanism, the more I wonder if there ever was any authenticity to Institutional Christianity, or if Constantine co-opted and misled the genuine body of Christ into endless error from the moment he established ‘Christianity’ as ‘official’ and ‘enforceable’ by the sword. Funny, Calvinists can denounce the ‘anti-Christ’ Roman Catholic Church, but heaven forbid anyone denounce its progeny, the Protestant Church for the same exact errors and abuses of authority. The ‘denominationalism’ that the orthodox types so despise is the result of countless people seeing the corruption in the Institutional Church and trying to ‘fix’ it.

      Godly ‘heretics’ will always reject illegitimate authority – to proclaim, demand submission to and defend the ‘sound doctrine’, a.k.a. authority – of the so-called ‘Church’. In reality, God gives his children the freedom to choose – to believe in him and to submit to the teaching of his Spirit to whosoever comes to him and receives that Spirit of truth. The real problem has nothing to do with ‘sound doctrine’, but evil, which all men can, and must, turn from.

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      1. TS00:
        I am not sure I have enough time or ink to keep up with all or your musing, but I do enjoy reading them.

        Try not to be bitter, friend.

        Now to your post. Four things:

        1. You spoke of damage by Calvinism after my pastor-counseling story. I have another. Very close family member (I wont say who for privacy) was a baptized, practicing youth when a new (YRR) youth pastor was hired (in his unsuspecting Baptist church) . That pastor hit repeatedly hard on the all-things-by-God aspect in all youth group meetings. We did not know this (until much later), but the youth (in his phase in life when tempted by so many things of the world) who struggled with sin, began to integrate the two ideas. To him….. after each day of sin….. he understood that it was in reality ordained by God. This went on for some time until finally (and still 15 years later) this youth is completely denying any need for Christ. He is completely convinced that all things are fate, even his unbelief, and that God (if there is a God) will redeem him later if that is what the plan is.

        No straw man here…..just a very painful, personal story.

        2. Piety. Christ calls us to be obedient to be sure. That does require self-control, but I see your point. Another true story that illustrates your point. In the country where we serve, the young bucks reading the translated Piper books are all about piety (keep the church pure). Fine if that means personal devotion to Christ and His commands. But they go in a particular direction: “getting back to what is important—real —reformed. Purify the church!”) This manifests itself in a turning to old (hard-to-read) Bible translations, and very old hymnals (all things modern are “seeker-friendly”). Bottom line: it leads them to a place where they do not care what the church looks like, feels like, sounds like to a watching world. That would be “seeker-friendly” —not their job!! In fact, to a certain degree it appears that they are trying to make it sound as stern, severe, and strict as possible—- since it matters not anyway.

        3. Dead. I have posted many times on the irony of this. Apparently we are so dead we cannot respond. Once saved, we are dead in Christ (buried) but still sin (even with the power of the Holy Spirit!). So, dead means dead when they want it, but other time, not so much. It is all part of the “things mean what we need them to mean” tendency.

        4. Doctrine: I have witnessed men’s groups where one part is saying “live in Christ, obey, serve others” and the others are saying “doctrine! We must have more doctrine!” Surely an unnecessary schism is in its flowering phase because of this renaissance of the throw-them-in-the-river Reformed mentality.

        Dont be bitter
        Fix your eyes on Jesus.
        Let the Scriptures speak!

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  3. I think perhaps that Joseph’s “straw man” comment was in regard to TS00’s post on abortion.

    We use that verse “save from slaughter” often in the pro-life movement.

    But the deeper point, (perhaps missed by Joseph?) is yes, we are commanded to save them from slaughter (and my wife and I are very involved in offering alternatives for women in crisis)….but according to the Calvinist-determinist position (highlighted by this article and TS00) even the ones that we cannot manage to rescue and who are slaughtered are done so by God’s predetermined design.

    Somehow (in the determinist position) the predetermined slaughtering is for His greater glory.

    There is no straw man involved here. This is the “necessary” position if followed to its logical end.

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  4. FOH, this is where the mask of compatibilism keeps earnest men and women from seeing the necessary assertions and logical conclusions of genuine Calvinism. By claiming that God both determines ‘whatsoever comes to pass’ and its absolute opposite – man freely chooses his own actions – can somehow both be true at the same time, the trusting believer can be led down paths they would never accept as true. They are lied to, and that is what made me furious at the false teachers of Calvinism and the pastor I once trusted. I had been hoodwinked into not thinking, not looking further into the undeniable assertions of Calvinism that I had once soundly condemned; because I had been wrongly told that only ‘hyper-Calvinists’ believe such things, not ‘true’ Calvinism. I fell for their lies, until my mind could no longer deny the absurdities and contradictions I was hearing.

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  5. FOH, I appreciate your responses. I hope, and pray, that I will not be bitter. It is more, as with your examples, anger, guilt, sadness at what I naively exposed my children to – and knowing that there are countless others in the same boat – that compels me to seek to expose the manipulative, deceptive, destructive ways of Calvinism and, hopefully, assist others in escaping its indoctrination. My loved ones, and many, many others have been taken in by masked Calvinism and it is time the mask was taken off.

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  6. The Calvinist’s predestined **LOT** in life is to be double-minded – This is god’s plan for them.

    THE FATED MENTAL PHENOMENON OF THE DELIBERATING DETERMINIST

    Dr. Tomis Kapitan – (1949-2016), Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus, Ph.D., of metaphysics, philosophy of language, and international ethics, analyses the phenomenon – of Determinists consistently perceiving/believing their own personal deliberations as OPEN and not predetermined at the very moments in which they are deliberating.

    Professor Kapitan calls this phenomenon of rational-inconsistency, the determinist’s unavoidable predetermined fate.

    -quote:
    “To locate an inconsistency within the beliefs of a deliberating determinist now seems easy; for as a deliberator, he takes his future act to be yet undetermined. But as a determinist, he assumes the very opposite – that his future is already determined and fixed in the past, such that everything he does was previously determined by factors beyond his control. Thus the ascription of rational-inconsistency within the mental state of the deliberating determinist is secured.”

    Dr. Kapitan has a comforting word to sooth the cognitive dissonance he rightly recognizes the deliberating determinist faces when he dares investigate the truth of his own rational-inconsistencies. He offers the suggestion: 1) If one’s thoughts choices and actions are settled in the past, and come to pass as one’s unavoidable destiny, then 2) the deliberating determinist has absolutely no way of knowing what his next neurological impulses will be. 3) Since he has absolutely no way of knowing what his next neurological impulses will be, then 4) is it totally futile to deliberate over what they will be.

    C’est La Vie! What will be is what will be.

    Practically-minded deliberating determinists, haunted by the specter of their own rational-inconsistency and fatalism, can be encouraged by this account of the matter. 🙂

    (The Philosophical Quarterly Vol. 36, No. 14 (1986), pp.230-51)

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    1. Sadly, the Calvinistic determinist is unable to process this inconsistency. They have been trained to ‘dump’ all inconsistencies into the daily spam file of ‘God is not confined to human logic’. This enables them to unblushingly make absurd, contradictory, illogical statements, and still believe they are wearing the Emperor’s finest.

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      1. Totally agreed!!!

        And then on top of that – Calvinism’s manifestation of abject dishonesty!!
        Pointing the finger of heresy at non-Calvinist Christians.
        And then hiding the evil aspects of their belief system – by masquerading them as the very things they just previously called heresy.

        If Calvinism really were the TRUE gospel – Calvinists wouldn’t be forced into a reliance upon dishonest language games in order to promote and defend it.

        Given the degree to which they are reliant upon dishonest language tricks – its much more accurate to call it the DISHONEST gospel.
        Blessings! :-]

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      2. br.d writes, ” then hiding the evil aspects of their belief system – by masquerading them as the very things they just previously called heresy.”

        Let’s see you argue that God is not omnipresent and does not observe all the evil that is done. Then, let’s see you argue that God is not omnipotent and can prevent any and all evil but does not do so. If you refuse to argue these points, then your railing against Calvinist amounts to nothing. Why should anyone care what you say, if you cannot argue your points.

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      3. Rhutchin writes “Let’s see you argue that God is not omnipresent and does not observe all the evil that is done. Then, let’s see you argue that God is not omnipotent and can prevent any and all evil but does not do so. If you refuse to argue these points, then your railing against Calvinist amounts to nothing. Why should anyone care what you say, if you cannot argue your points.” And elsewhere you bring up Paul’s educated guess that “You will say to me then, ‘Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?’ But who are you, a man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me thus? etc.’

        I believe Calvinism’s ghastly interpretation of this passage misses the mark by a mile. My opinion is that, much like we all say here repeatedly, ‘Rhutchin will now say, ‘do you deny God’s omniscience?’, Paul was denouncing the hypocritical, doubletalking Pharisees for pretending to bow to God’s great wisdom, power, foreknowledge etc., when what they were really attempting to do was put the blame for their own sin at his feet. They were no more bowing to God’s greatness or ‘glory’ than when they declared ‘We have no King but Caesar!’ They were always playing word games, doubletalking and trying to trap Jesus into saying something that they could twist into something damning. That, in my opinion, is exactly what Paul is denouncing them for.

        Yes, God allowed that brood of vipers to exist, and endured with much patience their endless wickedness, even using it to bring about the necessary crucifixion that brought forgiveness for sin to mankind. What Paul was saying, just as so many of us say to the resident Calvinist Trolls here, was ‘How dare you appeal to God’s genuine omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence in an attempt to blame him for your own (and others’) freely chosen wicked actions? Just because God has long endured you vessels of wrath made for destruction (fitted by your own unrepentant wickedness) does not mean that he either ordained or approves of your actions. Just because he foreknew your every evil deed, and allowed them to proceed, does not mean that he is their ’cause’ – responsible or blameworthy for them.’

        What Paul was NOT saying was ‘God is God. He can do whatever he wants. If he chooses to be cruel, merciless, partial and unloving, you, a mere worm that he created and will someday crush, can do nothing about it – not even complain. If he made countless people merely for the purpose of destroying them, what are you going to do about it – act like a crybaby and throw a fit?’ That heinous interpretation that Calvinists use to defend their most wicked, monstrous claims is unthinkable! Instead of asserting God’s ‘right’ to be unjust, Paul was asserting that far from ordaining this brood of vipers’ works, God merely put up with them temporarily, and used them to accomplish his plan. They could think again if they thought that they would stand before God someday and say, ‘ Don’t blame us for our sin. If you didn’t want us to be evil, why did you even create us? You foresaw exactly everything we would ever think, say or do, so really, our sin is your fault. If you don’t like the way things are in YOUR world, who is to blame but you?’ Paul was condemning Judaism/Calvinism’s determinism, not affirming it. He was condemning the false assertion that God’s foreknowing of all things, and not preventing them, was the same as his ordaining or being responsible for all that ever came to pass.

        Yes, God has chosen to bear with the evil, freely chosen actions of man for a brief time. Yes, he knew wicked, power-hungry, self-righteous hypocrites would want to murder anyone who challenged their power and authority over the ignorant masses they kept under their thumbs. No doubt, he manipulated the times and days so that Jesus escaped their machinations until the time was right for him to be lifted up on a cross. That does not mean God himself initiated the cruel practice of crucifixion, or ’caused’ these men to hate and murder his beloved Son. He knew that hatred and power combined always leads to murder, and, yes, he allowed it to happen. He endures with much patience these vessels of wrath, not because he ordains their wicked deeds, but because in allowing them to reveal their utter wickedness, good men will be pricked and challenged to run from evil. Paul was saying to these doubletalking hypocrites, just as he would to Calvinists, ‘Don’t you dare pretend to appeal to God’s ‘greatness’ while in reality you are trying to blame him for man’s sin.’

        Like

      4. Yesterday I shared from my daily reading (through-the-Bible).

        Today Is 66 starts like this….

        2 My hands have made both heaven and earth;
        they and everything in them are mine.
        I, the Lord, have spoken!

        The LORD is the all-caps Sovereign One. Letting us know who He is.

        Then He says (like he says in hundreds of other places)….

        “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts,
        who tremble at my word.”

        And then to leave no doubt He says….

        3 But those who choose their own ways—
        delighting in their detestable sins—
        will not have their offerings accepted.

        Just like he said to Cain.

        Cain could have and should have dominated over sin (God told him as much).

        Why all these hundreds or thousands of verses if it means nothing?

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      5. FOH writes, “Cain could have and should have dominated over sin (God told him as much).
        Why all these hundreds or thousands of verses if it means nothing?”

        What is the purpose of the law? “…the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ…” (Galatians 3) Thus, God did not give Israel the law as the means to save Israel but as the means to show Israel their need for salvation. In the same sense, God tells people to stop sinning, to serve Him, etc. knowing that they cannot do so (as they are spiritually dead) and that is the point – we need to recognize that only God can save us and we need God to save us.

        Your point seems to be that people are not spiritually dead as a consequence of Adam’s sin. Is that true?

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      6. rhutchin writes:
        Why should anyone care what you say, if you cannot argue your points.

        More reverse attribution error! 😀

        Like

    2. However, another aspect comes into play here as well.

      When a man creates a deity – he creates that deity in his own image.

      Since Calvin’s doctrines entail double-mindedness – it makes perfect sense, the image of his deity will be a double-minded deity who speaks double-speak.

      Calvin’s deity communicates to Adam in the garden, deceiving Adam into believing he wills Adam’s obedience.
      When he had already, prior to Adam’s birth, “settled” Adam’s disobedience as the only single unique choice Adam can make.

      Similarly, the deity tells his people he has set before each of them life and death – deceiving them into believing he has set before each of them, these as two alternative possibilities. Deceiving them into believing he as PERMITTED each individual source-hood to determine which alternative possibility each will choose.

      When the truth is, just like with Adam, he had already prior to their birth, “settled” the choice each one would make as the only one single unique choice each one could make. Thus he deceives them into believing they have two alternative choices when they only have one.

      Calvin calls this permission a **FIGMENT** – and obviously Calvin means figment of the human imagination.
      But where does this illusion originate, accept but from Calvin’s double-speak god himself.

      We see the same pattern in Calvin’s church – for Calvin teaches that god deceives non-elected believers within the Calvinist fold into believing they are elect, saved, and bound for eternal blessing, when in fact god has predestined them for the opposite eternity. Calvin states that God holds salvation out to these believers as a -quote “scepter of greater condemnation”.

      God deceives them with the illusion of salvation, in order to magnify their eternal torment. These Calvinists, convinced they are elected,speak boldly under the illusion they are inspired by the HS, when in fact they are representative of the illusion.

      And no Calvinist among them knows whether or not this is his condition or his neighbors. Each is taught to simply assume s/he is saved and to go about their office – quote “as if nothing is determined in any part”. Calvin teaches AS-IF thinking.

      So we have a double-minded theorist with a double-minded theory – double-minded believers – who quite naturally speak double-speak.

      It makes perfect sense then – the deity is a double-minded deity who speaks double-speak.

      As Psalms 115: 8 says:
      THOSE WHO MAKE THEM BECOME LIKE UNTO THEM.

      Like

  7. Dr. Flowers writes, “Why do self-proclaimed Calvinists express disapproval and indignation against that which they believe God has unchangeably brought to pass for His own self-glorification?”

    Wouldn’t a “self-proclaimed Calvinist” be a non-Calvinist who wants people to think he is a Calvinist?

    The expression of disapproval/indignation against evil is against those who would do evil. People do evil; we are to preach to depraved people telling them that they are doing evil and must give account of their sin to God. This precedes the preaching of the gospel that explains what people can do to satisfy God’s judgment for their sin.

    Calvinists know that God is omnipotent and could prevent every abortion, every rape, every sin, every evil thought. They also know that God, in His infinite understanding and wisdom has decreed not to intervene to prevent all sin. Romans 1 describes this, “…[depraved people] exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions;…” It is God’s intent to judge sinful people and the evil He decrees that they be free to pursue unhindered by Him is to prepare them for judgment., “…the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…”

    Like

  8. People do evil? Not according to John Piper and John Calvin. It would be more accurate to say God does evil through people. For example a man in Las Vegas murdered 50 some people yesterday. A consistent calvinist would be praising God for this event.

    Like

    1. Yes this is correct.
      Calvin strongly asserts that neither Lucifer nor any human can think one single thought that god does not first-conceive/decree.

      – quote: “I have already shown clearly enough that god is the author of all those things”

      – quote: “men can deliberately do nothing unless He [god] inspire it.”

      Like

      1. br.d writes, “Calvin strongly asserts that neither Lucifer nor any human can think one single thought that god does not first-conceive/decree.”

        Do you mean to argue that God is ignorant of all possibilities even before they happen. That is to argue that God is not omniscient and even Brian Wagner knows not to argue that God does not know all future possibilities. You are free to make that argument if you want. I don’t think you can.

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      2. rhutchin writes
        Do you mean to argue that God is ignorant of all possibilities even before they happen. That is to argue that God is not omniscient and even Brian Wagner knows not to argue that God does not know all future possibilities. You are free to make that argument if you want. I don’t think you can.

        More irrelevant red herrings about what Calvin’s god **CAN** do – or what Calvin’s god **CAN KNOW**.
        When the topic is solely focused on what Calvin’s god ***DOES DO*** 😀

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      3. br.d writes, “More irrelevant red herrings about what Calvin’s god **CAN** do – or what Calvin’s god **CAN KNOW**.
        When the topic is solely focused on what Calvin’s god ***DOES DO*** ”

        br.d cannot explain his system which means he has no alternative to Calvinism.

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      4. rhutchin writes
        br.d cannot explain his system which means he has no alternative to Calvinism.

        Calvinism isn’t worth having an “alternative”.
        If it was, it wouldn’t force its vulpine defenders – memorize and recite a handbook of beguiling double-talk. 🙂

        Like

      5. br.d writes, “Calvinism isn’t worth having an “alternative”.”

        If there is no alternative to Calvinism, then Calvinism is an accurate theology. Calvinism says that God is both omnipotent and omniscient. If an alternative were to exist, it would have to say that God is not omnipotent or not omniscient. So, unless br.d is willing to deny that God is God, then he has no argument against Calvinism despite all the opinions he offers.

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      6. rhutchin writes
        unless br.d is willing to deny that God is God, then he has no argument against Calvinism despite all the OPINIONS he offers.

        Straw-man Fallacy:
        Masquerading a non-sequitur as an argument by manufacturing another persons rational statement to look like something other than it is – something even a child could to knock down. – Hence the straw-man

        Subjectivist Fallacy:
        The subjectivist fallacy is committed when someone resists the conclusion of an argument not by questioning whether the argument’s premises support its conclusion, but by treating the conclusion as subjective when it is in fact objective.

        Typically this is done by attempting to label a rational conclusion as just an “opinion”.

        Like

    2. wildswanderer writes, “People do evil? Not according to John Piper and John Calvin. It would be more accurate to say God does evil through people.”

      God is sovereign and can prevent all evil actions if He chooses to do so. That God chooses not to prevent people from evil gives people the freedom to do evil. As God exerts absolute control over all events and works all things after the counsel of His will, God decrees that people be given freedom to do evil things. It is wrong to say that God does evil, but that God controls all events including evil events.

      Then, “…a man in Las Vegas murdered 50 some people yesterday. A consistent Calvinist would be praising God for this event.”

      When a man murders 50 people, he does so only because God choose not to prevent him doing so. Calvinists praise God not for the event but because God does nothing but according to an infinite understanding and perfect wisdom. You don’t like this, but you will not argue against it.

      Like

      1. rhutchin writes:
        [Calvin’s] god CAN prevent all evil actions if He chooses to do so

        Calvinist’s love to assert irrelevant red herrings
        And its fun to watch Calvinists deny their own belief system!!
        It shows us their love-hate relationship with it.

        Lets see, analyze this irrelevant red herring and see its nothing but word trickery:

        1) Calvin’s god in eternity past first-conceived/decreed/rendered-certain, the Vegas shooter kill people.
        2) But Calvin’s god CAN prevent himself from first-conceiving/decreeing/rendering-certain the Vegas shooter kill people – by first-conceiving/decreeing/rendering certain something else as an alternative.

        However – that is not what came to pass.
        So its easy to connect the logical dots. 😀

        Like

      2. br.d writes, “[Calvin’s] god CAN prevent all evil actions if He chooses to do so”

        God can prevent all evil actions if He chooses to do so regardless of one’s theology.

        Then, “1) Calvin’s god in eternity past first-conceived/decreed/rendered-certain, the Vegas shooter kill people.”

        This is true for any theology that says God is omnipotent and omniscient.

        Like

      3. br.d
        1) Calvin’s god in eternity past first-conceived/decreed/rendered-certain, the Vegas shooter kill people.

        rhutchin writes:
        “This is true for any theology that says God is omnipotent and omniscient.”

        AS-IF!! 😉

        Like

    1. wildswander writes, “Maybe all those people that were shot were not elect anyway, so God didn’t love them to begin with?”

      You sound like an Universalist. Are you saying that God ought to save all people and should not allow a person to die if He has not saved them?

      Like

      1. I haven’t been around these boards that long, but Rhutchin tends to throw out the same old accusations again and again: ‘Sounds like you’re a Universalist’, Sounds like you’re a Pelagian’, ‘Sounds like you’re an Open Theist’, ‘Sounds like you don’t believe in God’s omniscience’, etc.. It doesn’t matter how many times he is adequately answered, he just keeps throwing the same egg against the wall to see if some of it sticks. Name calling is the purview of those who have no solid argument. All the Protestants had to do in the 16th century was throw out the word ‘Heretic’ and people started gathering green wood. They didn’t even wait to listen to the arguments of the accused.

        Doubtless I share common viewpoints with Universalists, Pelagians, Open Theists and even Calvinists. I probably agree with Hitler, Marx and Trump on some thing or other, but that doesn’t mean I buy their overall goals, strategies or methodology. What is the point of name calling, or pigeon-holing people, but to distract, intimidate and bully? Funny how Calvinists never feel it necessary to reject all of the teachings of Calvin, Luther or Augustine for their many crimes and sins. All provoked the slaughter of innocents.

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      2. TS00,

        I tried to warn you and WW earlier not to try. I am constantly called all kinds of names.

        But this last flurry of post by our name-calling friend showed that he no longer is a Calvinist anyway. He states clearly that God lets men choose to do evil and does not restrain them. That is NOT Calvinism. God does not “let” anything. He ordains it. But BrD has repeatedly shown us that in addition to name-calling our friends can speak out of both side: God “lets” and He ordains.

        No and again they wander off the talking points and say “lets” “allows”. But really He ordains all acts, thoughts —good and bad—- before time. That is not “letting” evil men. That is not “not restraining” evil men.

        But like I said….. it’s not worth it TS00. You will only incur more invective (the modern day equivalent to getting Calvin’s millstone-dunking).

        BTW, good illustration about agreeing with some people some of the time, but you dont call yourself a Marxist cuz some of his stuff was too much. Funny how Calvinists dont run like that from John C’s millstone-dunking.

        Like

      3. FOH writes, “He states clearly that God lets men choose to do evil and does not restrain them. That is NOT Calvinism. God does not “let” anything. He ordains it.”

        God “lets” when He gives people freedom to pursue their sinful desires. For God to “let” (or allow) is for God to “ordain.” It identifies a decision by God to refrain from intervening in the affairs of people. You claim to have been a Calvinist – you know this. Given that you gave up Calvinism, maybe you can describe what you know believe and how it is different from Calvinism as it pertains to God ordaining or letting or allowing.

        Like

      4. rhutchin on “Calvin’s god lets” things happen

        -quote:
        “If the blinding and insanity of Ahab be god’s judgement, the ***FIGMENT*** of Bare permission vanishes.
        Because it would be ridiculous for the judge only to permit what ***HE WILLS TO BE DONE***,
        and not also ***DECREE IT** and ***COMMAND ITS EXECUTION*** ….- John Calvin, institutes i.xviii

        Liked by 1 person

      5. br.d quoting Calvin:
        -quote:
        “If the blinding and insanity of Ahab be god’s judgement, the ***FIGMENT*** of Bare permission vanishes.
        Because it would be ridiculous for the judge only to permit what ***HE WILLS TO BE DONE***,
        and not also ***DECREE IT** and ***COMMAND ITS EXECUTION*** ….- John Calvin, institutes i.xviii”

        The key term here being “bare permission.” So, what is br.d’s point on Calvin’s opposition to bare permission

        Like

      6. br.d quoting Calvin:
        -quote:
        “If the blinding and insanity of Ahab be god’s judgement, the ***FIGMENT*** of Bare permission vanishes.
        Because it would be ridiculous for the judge only to permit what ***HE WILLS TO BE DONE***,
        and not also ***DECREE IT** and ***COMMAND ITS EXECUTION*** ….- John Calvin, institutes i.xviii”

        rhutchin writes:
        “The key term here being “bare permission.” So, what is br.d’s point on Calvin’s opposition to bare permission”

        Bare (adj.)
        Old English bær “naked, uncovered, unclothed,” from Proto-Germanic *bazaz (source also of German bar, Old Norse berr, Dutch baar), from PIE *bhoso- “naked” (source also of Armenian bok “naked;” Old Church Slavonic bosu, Lithuanian basas “barefoot”).

        Meaning “sheer, absolute” (c. 1200) is from the notion of “complete in itself.”

        Permission – Permit (verb.)
        late 15c., from Middle French permetre and directly from Latin permittere “let pass, let go, let loose; give up, hand over; let, allow, grant, permit,” from per “through” (from PIE root *per- (1) “forward,” hence “through”) + mittere “let go, send” (see mission). Related: Permitted; permitting.

        ———————————————————————————————————
        A key identifier of aberrant religious groups by experts today is the use of “LOADED LANGUAGE”
        The term “Loaded language” was first introduced by Robert J. Lifton. in “Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism”

        Calvin wants to equivocate with the word PERMISSION so he can use it in his repertoire of beguiling double-talk.
        He wants to assert his god CAUSES x to happen when x is a good event.
        He wants to assert his god PERMITS x to happen when x is an evil event.
        So he creates an ad-hoc definition for the word PERMIT in order to make it mean CAUSE and ALLOW at the same time.
        An equivocation requires giving a word a double-meaning so it can be used in duplicitous manner.

        Equivocation:
        The use of ambiguous language to conceal the truth or to avoid committing oneself; prevarication.

        Duplicity and beguiling double-talk is the only power Calvinism has!
        Let the double-talk continue 🙂

        Like

      7. br.d writes, “Calvin wants to equivocate with the word PERMISSION so he can use it in his repertoire of beguiling double-talk.”

        Might we conclude that you have no idea why Calvin used the term, “bare permission”?

        Like

      8. br.d writes, “Calvin wants to equivocate with the word PERMISSION so he can use it in his repertoire of beguiling double-talk.”

        rhutchin writes:
        Might we conclude that you have no idea why Calvin used the term, “bare permission”?

        The conclusion is already obvious and clearly identified. 😉

        Like

      9. ts00 writes, “the same old accusations again and again: ‘Sounds like you’re a Universalist’,…”

        I point out that you make an Universlist argument against the Calvinists. If you are not an Universalist, what motivates you to use their arguments? If you are an Universlist, say so up front so we know where you are coming from. The problem with non-Calvinists is that always seem to want to hide what they are. So, what are you?

        Then, “It doesn’t matter how many times he is adequately answered,”

        You are not answering me, adequately or not. You complain about Calvinism but never argue an alternative.

        Then, “Doubtless I share common viewpoints with Universalists, Pelagians, Open Theists and even Calvinists.”

        That means you don’t have a sound theology and certainly not a consistent one. If you think you have a consistent theology, then start presenting a consistent alternative to Calvinism. I doubt that you can do it, and you probably know that.

        Like

      10. When rhutchin is at the end of his red herrings he throws out accusations against persons hoping he can either punish people away from SOT1o1 or provoke them to defend themselves against a personal attack.

        We’ve learned not to take rhutchin seriously. 😀

        Like

      11. Actually, universalism is just Calvinism without hell. In Universalism, God pre determines who to save irresistibly. The only difference is that he irresistibly chooses to save all instead of a few. I believe what the Bible teaches, that God gave his Son to save every one of those people who were shot and killed and each one had a chance to accept of reject Him. Your system teaches that the majority of them were chosen to be damned and never had any grace given to them, as that grace was only for a few selected elect.

        Like

      12. wildswanderer writes, “universalism is just Calvinism without hell.”

        Not exactly. Universalism is Calvinism where God saves all people. If it were just, “without hell,” annihilation would be an option.

        Then, “each one had a chance to accept of reject Him.”

        Calvinism also teaches this and adds that spiritually dead people reject Christ.

        Then, “Your system teaches that the majority of them were chosen to be damned and never had any grace given to them, as that grace was only for a few selected elect.”

        Whether a lot or a little, the need is for God to save. Here, you seem to deny that God is omniscient. Are you?

        Like

      13. “You’re a universalist!”
        “Um, universalism is basically calvinism.”
        “Yes it is. Then, you’re obviously a heretic who denies God’s omniscience! Look, a flying squirrel!”

        Can you say “diversion tactics” boys and girls? I knew you could.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. wildswanderer writes, “Can you say “diversion tactics” boys and girls? I knew you could.”

        It was a simple question. Do you deny that God is omniscient? Why is it so hard for you to answer?

        Like

      15. rhutchin writes:
        It was a simple question. Do you deny that God is omniscient? Why is it so hard for you to answer?

        Over the centuries, Christian philosophers have pondered solutions for the “Foreknowledge – Freewill” problem.

        Of all of these solutions throughout history – Theological Fatalism/Determinism (i.e., Calvinism) is the least viable.
        So much so, that over the past decades prominent Christian Philosophers don’t even consider it viable enough to discuss.

        The Calvinist reminds me of the monkey with his hand in a jar – grabbing the banana – and can’t let it go. 🙂

        Like

      16. br,d writes, “The Calvinist reminds me of the monkey with his hand in a jar – grabbing the banana – and can’t let it go.”

        Yet, you cannot answer a simple question – Do you deny that God is omniscient?. Don’t you find that interesting?

        Like

      17. Rhutchin writes: “Yet, you cannot answer a simple question – Do you deny that God is omniscient?”

        Is it just me, or have I heard that questions asked by you – and answered – about a thousand times by various commenters on these boards? Including br.d. Maybe you should just scroll through and read some of the old answers, as many of them are pretty thorough.

        Still laughing out loud at the flying squirrel comment. 🙂

        Like

      18. ts00 writes, “Is it just me, or have I heard that questions asked by you – and answered – about a thousand times by various commenters on these boards? Including br.d.”

        I bet even you don’t know what br.d believes.

        Like

      19. When one can’t make beguiling double-talk work – all one is left with are personal attacks.
        Nothing new here – move along! 🙂

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      20. br,d writes, “The Calvinist reminds me of the monkey with his hand in a jar – grabbing the banana – and can’t let it go.”

        rhutchin writes:
        Yet, you cannot answer a simple question – Do you deny that God is omniscient?. Don’t you find that interesting?

        That “omniscience” trick no longer works. You have already proven that Theological Fatalism/Determinism can only be defended with beguiling double-talk.
        Any Christian who wants to be double-minded and speak with a forked tongue is welcome to it.

        Like

      21. br.d writes, “That “omniscience” trick no longer works.”

        No trick here. Just a simple question you are unable to answer – Do you deny that God is omniscient? Don’t you find your evasion more interesting? Poor br.d!

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      22. rhutchin:
        No trick here. Just a simple question you are unable to answer – Do you deny that God is omniscient? Don’t you find your evasion more interesting? Poor br.d!

        Poor br.d doesn’t know how the Calvinist beguiling double-talk works. 😉

        Like

      23. br.d writes, “Poor br.d doesn’t know how the Calvinist beguiling double-talk works”

        Simple questions seem to be double talk to br.d. Still not able to bring himself to provide an answer. But br.d can’t let it go. That is interesting.

        Like

      24. rhutchin writes:
        Simple questions seem to be double talk to br.d. Still not able to bring himself to provide an answer. But br.d can’t let it go. That is interesting.

        Too funny!!! 😀

        Like

  9. FOH, Yes, he is consistent only in his inconsistency. Whenever things get too close to showing the absurdity of his system, he flip flops and starts using arminian concepts such as God permitting but not controlling evil, to defend Calvinism, which says the opposite. If a theological system doesn’t work in real life, it doesn’t work at all. The fatalist has no comfort for the grieving. He can’t even say that God will be with them in their grief, because his god might have chosen before time to ignore them. The hurting do not need to hear: ” God is controlling everything, even the evil.” What they need to hear is that God will be with them through their trials if they only choose to let him in.

    Like

  10. “thieves and murderers, and other evildoers, are instruments of divine providence, being employed by the god himself to execute ……..[those evils] which he has resolved to inflict.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 17, Paragraph 5)

    “The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly, are in all directions, held…by…God as with a bridle, so that they can neither CONCEIVE any [evil], nor plan what they have conceived…..move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as he….in so far as he COMMANDS….they are not only bound by his fetters but are even FORCED to do him service” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 17, Paragraph 11)

    “How few are there who, when they hear [of so called] free will attributed to man, do not immediately IMAGINE that man is the master of his mind and will in such a sense, that he can of himself incline himself either to good or evil? – (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 2, Chapter 2, Paragraphs 7-8)

    “God could foresee nothing good in man except what he had already determined to bestow….. (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 22, Paragraph 5)

    …individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb…..and are to glorify him by their destruction.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6)

    “…it is vain to debate about PRESCIENCE..
    (from Latin prae “before” + scire “to know” – i.e., foreknowledge – omniscience)

    All events take place by his sovereign [decree].”
    (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6)

    Like

    1. Wow…Br.d

      Thanks for that research. What we all knew this …but nice to see it in print. Still wondering why this guy Calvin gets so much good press. Not to mention those he gave the millstone-dunking to.

      There seems to be some confusion (or is it the double speak you mention?) about what we are discussion.

      Young, new YRR, Calvinists like Joseph want to defend God and show Him as sovereign, above man. Fine. But….

      I want to make it clear that we are not discussing whether God has the right to judge (take a life).

      I want to make it clear that we are not discussing whether God has the right to make a man be blind so that Christ can heal him.

      I want to make it clear that we are not discussing whether God has the right to bring about a hurricane, earthquake etc.

      We are talking about whether the Word of God supports the idea that ALL evil comes from God. All rape, murder, torture, etc.

      To ever bring in words like “allows” “permits” “does not restrain man” only shows that there is a double standard going on. I illustrated that in the Piper quote “Permitting” “Sometimes”.

      No, I am afraid it is all or nothing for a determinist. Cannot continually play the omniscient card (irrelevant). Cannot play the Omnipotent card (“He could have stopped it but allowed it” is not the same as caused it).

      I am afraid that Calvinism-determinism that I once followed leaves no wiggle room for “sometimes” and “permits”

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      1. Excellent post FOH!

        We all start out in dialog with Calvinists assuming that dialog will be based on sincere openness and based upon honesty.

        However, we eventually learn the Calvinist determined to defend his turf is not trained to think or respond that way. He is trained in double-think. And he is trained in double-speak.

        God predestines all things, but not in such a way that god predestines all things.
        or
        God predestines all things, but in such a way that god does not predestine some things.
        or
        God determines all things in every part.
        But the Calvinist is to go about his office AS-IF nothing is determined in any part.
        Double-think is an inherent character of Calvinist thinking.
        Dialog with double-think eventually becomes fruitless.
        And you start to learn he’s just playing you for a sucker.

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      2. It starts out nicely enough. I’ve seen it many times.

        Some come in through the “give God the glory” door….

        Some come in through the “dead men don’t make choices” door…

        Some come in through the “I don’t want to have a man-centered gospel” door…

        And everything goes well as they consider the “Doctrines of Grace” and see what a wonderful thing God has done for us (and truly He has!).

        But this idea … this new idea to them ….that God did everything, (even gave them their personal faith) leads in a matter of time to “God does everything, period.” Meaning, gives us every action we ever do. You can see Piper very weakly defend this on his website anytime you like …as he did in that quoted paragraph.

        There just isn’t any room for any other position, and as you get deeper and deeper into it, pretty soon you find yourself actually defending the indefensible and the unthinkable.

        My theory is, that is why so many times we find that it is young, males, Western. Because girls just don’t want to talk all day about God being the author of sin, rape, torture, etc. The Southern hemisphere is going through a Pentecostal Revival (no room for such talk there!)… and the rest of the world is dealing with home-groups in a persecuted church (right, like they are gonna spend time talking about the evil of God— when they are fixed on the goodness of Christ!).

        Only in the West where we have the time to talk about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin do we have spare time enough for this silliness over and over. But then…..the Pipers of this world are the ones translating their books and blogs….so maybe we can fill the world with determinism after all!

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      3. CALVINISM’S ALTRUISTIC DISHONESTY:

        Dr. Bella DePaulo, – Ph.D., Harvard, is a Social Psychologist who has done extensive research on how people justify various forms of dishonesty. In her book: “The how’s and why’s of lies” she reports, a high percentage of people who rationalize their use of dishonest language, while having only a sub-level discomfort doing so, which is outweighed by their justifications. They generally do not regard their lies as serious.

        This is especially true with people who perceive themselves as being dishonest in order to protect a “target”. These are called “other-oriented” or “altruistic” dishonesties.

        People also convince themselves their lies go undetected. They tell themselves that because they are being dishonest for a good reason, they are not really being dishonest.

        Also in their justifications to protect their “target”, a high percentage report they would have felt worse if they had been honest, because honesty would have revealed things about the “target” they did not want people to see.

        DePaulo’s research is consistent with scholars dating back centuries. This supposed protection of a “target” the vast majority of the time actually functions as a mask for self-serving motives, and the deceiver’s belief they are protecting the “target”, is in itself, another layer of deception.

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      4. br.d writes, “CALVINISM’S ALTRUISTIC DISHONESTY:”

        Yet, br.d does not include examples to show how Calvinists actually do this. The problem here is that Calvinists do not tell lies; they cite the Scripture and explain what the Scripture tells us. br.d presents no case against Calvinism in this comment.

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      5. rhutchin writes: concerning “CALVINISM’S ALTRUISTIC DISHONESTY:”
        Yet, br.d does not include examples to show how Calvinists actually do this. The problem here is that Calvinists do not tell lies; they cite the Scripture and explain what the Scripture tells us. br.d presents no case against Calvinism in this comment.

        We’ve been over this before.
        You always provide the most excellent examples – I provide the analysis.
        Its been working wonderfully!!
        And SOT101 readers have benefited. 😀

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      6. I keep waiting for someone to borrow Ronnie’s famous quip with Rhutchin: “There you go again.” It got a good laugh, and everyone knew exactly what he was talking about. 🙂

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      7. FOH writes, “But this idea … this new idea to them ….that God did everything, (even gave them their personal faith) leads in a matter of time to “God does everything, period.”

        You can easily stake out a different position by saying, “I don’t believe that God must give faith to people.” Or show the illogic of the argument that leads to the conclusion that “God did everything.” You complain about Calvinism, but never engage Calvinism to show how it got it wrong – that is because you cannot. Isn’t it??

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      8. br.d writes, “We all start out in dialog with Calvinists assuming that dialog will be based on sincere openness and based upon honesty.”

        And then the non-Calvinist refuses to define critical terms. As an example, you refuse to state your position on the term, “omniscient,” and this means that you cannot (or willfully refuse to) define the term. Can you legitimately engage in any conversation that involves “omniscience” when you refuse to define the term? You can’t but you do. You are the problem.

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      9. rhutchin:
        “And then the non-Calvinist refuses to define critical terms. As an example, you refuse to state your position on the term, “omniscient,” and this means that you cannot (or willfully refuse to) define the term. Can you legitimately engage in any conversation that involves “omniscience” when you refuse to define the term? You can’t but you do. You are the problem.”

        When one can’t forward a coherent argument – one reverts to personal attacks as a last ditch effort to appear relevant.

        You’ve lured numerous people along – with your unquestioned assumption – the Calvinist position on the Foreknowledge vs Free-will problem is solved. In the process you consistently posture yourself more knowledgeable than Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig – recognized internationally as at the forefront of that discussion.

        No need for anyone to get drawn along by someone’s childishness.
        You’ll have to play that game without me. 🙂

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      10. br.d writes, “When one can’t forward a coherent argument – one reverts to personal attacks as a last ditch effort to appear relevant.”

        Not personal; just want you to give us your definition of omniscience.

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      11. br.d writes, “When one can’t forward a coherent argument – one reverts to personal attacks as a last ditch effort to appear relevant.”

        rhutchin writes:
        Not personal; just want you to give us your definition of omniscience.

        Firstly: Your previous posts betray you – so everyone can see the dishonesty – thanks for another good example.

        Secondly, where you navigate to with your “omniscience” topic is consistent – what you are really referring too is “Foreknowledge” – and as has been clearly pointed out – based upon an questionable assumption that Calvin’s scheme (i.e., Theological Fatalism/Determinism) solves the perennial issue of “Foreknowledge vs Free Will”.

        Again – along with that unquestioned assumption, there is a consistent posturing of oneself as more knowledgeable than Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig, who are internationally recognized as prominent contributors to that discussion.

        So the strategy is obvious – and no one takes the childish antics seriously. 🙂

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      12. br.d writes, “So the strategy is obvious – and no one takes the childish antics seriously.”

        Nothing childish – just driving home the point that you have no definition of omniscience (as it applies to God). Even ts00 provided a definition. You could use his definition but do not. I think you realize that the Calvinist have the upper hand on this point and you are unable to argue otherwise.

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      13. br.d writes, “So the strategy is obvious – and no one takes the childish antics seriously.”

        Nothing childish – just driving home the point that you have no definition of omniscience (as it applies to God). Even ts00 provided a definition. You could use his definition but do not. I think you realize that the Calvinist have the upper hand on this point and you are unable to argue otherwise.

        What an imagination 😀

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      14. FOH writes, “We are talking about whether the Word of God supports the idea that ALL evil comes from God. All rape, murder, torture, etc.”

        In other words, is God sovereign over His creation? It does matter that God is omniscient and omnipotent. God knows the mind of man. We know that evil comes out of the heart of man. God can prevent evil and when God does not prevent evil, then God is said to “cause” or “allow” or “permit” that evil.

        Then, “I am afraid that Calvinism-determinism that I once followed leaves no wiggle room for “sometimes” and “permits”.”

        I think it was the non-Calvinist who objected to the Calvinist saying that God causes evil and began to say that God only allows or permits evil – while never defining what they meant by “allow” or “permit.” If anyone can explain how God “allowing” or “permitting” an event is different than God “causing” that event, it would further discussion tremendously to provide it. “Cause” means that God, as sovereign, rules over His creation and has the final say on all that occurs. As God thereby necessarily decrees all that occurs, God causes all that occurs even if through secondary agents where God “allows” or “permits” action by not interfering to prevent the act.

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      15. Rhutchin writes: “I think it was the non-Calvinist who objected to the Calvinist saying that God causes evil and began to say that God only allows or permits evil – while never defining what they meant by “allow” or “permit.” If anyone can explain how God “allowing” or “permitting” an event is different than God “causing” that event, it would further discussion tremendously to provide it. “Cause” means that God, as sovereign, rules over His creation and has the final say on all that occurs. As God thereby necessarily decrees all that occurs, God causes all that occurs even if through secondary agents where God “allows” or “permits” action by not interfering to prevent the act.”

        I admit to having doubts as to whether Rhutchin desires genuine discourse, or is merely a Troll sent to sow discord, for he repeatedly asks the same questions, pretending as if they were never answered, but I will address the question as if it was genuine, for the sake of others.
        If one puts aside all intent to deceive or play ‘gotcha’, one would be able to calmly dissect the difference between ‘permit’ and irresistibly ‘cause’. Both acknowledge an omniscient, omnipotent God, sovereign Creator and Ruler of the universe, hence, his ultimate knowledge of all things, past, present and future as human time perceives reality.

        In the deterministic construct, which has long been in existence, but currently exists in the school of Christianity under the name ‘Calvinism’ or ‘Reformed Theology’, God retains absolute control over every molecule of his created universe. Hence, whatever happens throughout eternity, whatsoever comes to pass, has been imagined, ordained and irresistibly brought to pass by his determinative, absolute, controlling power over all aspects of his creation, including man. However termed, this Divine Determinism insists that all things, at all times are completely, irresistibly brought to pass and controlled by the causative power of the Divine Creator of the universe.

        This construct faces the serious problem that philosophers call ‘The Problem of Evil’. It also quickly runs into direct contradiction to scripture, which describes a world in which weak, created, mortal beings rebel against their all-powerful, immortal Creator. From the very beginning, the creature, man, performs evil actions against the good and perfect will of his Creator, refusing to acknowledge or submit to his good, just and loving authority.

        Prominently portrayed throughout scripture are the concepts of good and evil, belief and unbelief, wrath and approval, sin and repentance and punishment and reward, all concepts that demand either genuine freedom of choice by the described actors or a dualism in which the controlling God is playing two forces against one another, and the actors are merely playing their assigned roles.

        Christianity rejects the concept of Dualism, of God having a ‘Good’ side and an ‘Evil’ side, thus Calvinism has attempted to construct a system in which a wholly good God can create and control evil. This is done via the well-known concept of ‘the end justifies the means’. The assertion is simply that evil is not truly evil if it is genuinely intended and ultimately results in ‘the greater good’. Human tyrants of every stripe have borrowed this concept to justify their own evil deeds. This includes John Calvin, who approved of and oversaw the use of strict authoritarianism, torture and murder in his attempt to create a righteous kingdom of God on earth.

        In contrast to Divine Determinism are those who posit that the wholly Good and wholly sovereign God actually granted genuine freedom of action to the inferior, mortal creatures he called man. They assert that by his own free choice, God determined to place self-made limits upon his own otherwise unlimited power and authority in order to grant to the creature a measure of true autonomy. This of course does not mean eliminating all of his power and control, as limited, created beings have no power to bring anything into existence, but merely the ability to govern and shape that which God created and put under their dominion, including self.

        The non-determinist, or Free Will advocate, asserts that man promptly abused the freedom of choice given to him by God to resist any and all oversight, insisting on his own ability to know and choose what is right without any input from God. In other words, mutiny occurred, and man set out, to face and have dominion in this creation over which he was given legitimate authority by the only sovereign Authority over all things.

        Man was given, by his Creator, all that was necessary to meet his every possible need and desire, including his God-like creative impulse. With that which was provided and intended for producing Good, man found ways to produce Evil. Given the power to produce life, he quickly found that he also had the power to take away life, and soon did so. Instead of working cooperatively together and ensuring the met needs of all, men began to hoard and conspire to acquire as much as possible for themselves. This greed led to all manner of Evil, from minor theft and trickery to wholesale oppression, murder and war, as well as all of the personal, relational abuses between family and friends.

        Determinists and non-determinists alike generally acknowledge the existence of Evil. It is their explanation for evil that marks the separation of worldviews between the two main camps, in which various differences on the details occur.

        In summation, the Divine Determinist asserts that Evil is the deliberate and meticulously controlled offspring of the Creator God’s mind. He brought it into being, as he brought all things into being, and he has complete authoritative, controlling power over it at all times. It is impossible to make this assertion without granting Dualism, thus Determinists appeal to non-deterministic language to avoid charges they cannot rebut. This has the effect of suggesting that God also applies disingenuous and euphemistic language in order to conceal the full truth of his responsibility for Evil.

        The necessity for distraction, distortion and constant redefinition is created by Calvinism’s belief that God is actively ordaining and overseeing evil while intending to hold men responsible for it. Historic Calvinism was more straightforward, but upon the rejection of their hideous premises, ‘Compatibilism’ was birthed, in which logic must be suspended in order to affirm opposing, contradictory ‘truths’.
        Ignoring the fact that if logic is not applicable, man cannot ‘know’ anything, (not to mention the entirety of Roman 1) Compatibilism instructs its followers to believe the impossible, asserting that God is not constrained to the limits of human logic or that ‘God’s ways are higher than man’s’.

        Thus, Compatibilism asserts both God’s controlling, deterministic power over every resistless molecule in the universe while also asserting that man is responsible for his own actions. It is asserted that as long as God uses unseen, secondary means to authoritatively but secretly control men’s actions it can be said that man is ‘choosing’ his own actions according to his unchosen desires. In this contorted, disingenuous fashion, determinists assert that God is just to imagine, ordain and bring to pass all Evil, then hold resistless men accountable and worthy of punishment for this same, obediently-performed Evil.

        In effect, the genuine free will that God gave to man, that which resulted in man genuinely producing Evil against God’s desire and will, is turned into a ‘fake’ free will that is actually, secretively, controlled by God.

        This God ‘punishes’ those who have done no wrong – they have not even been born – for the Evil ‘choice’ somehow made by the determinatively controlled first man. This ‘punishment’ for the ‘original sin’ curses all future men with a complete inability to choose Good, called ‘Total Depravity’. Thus, determinists attempt to blame this curse-caused Total Depravity, rather than the God who instituted it, for all the Evil in the world. Thus, whether one uses the word ‘causes’, ‘permits’, ‘ordains’, ‘allows’ or any other word, all Evil, like all Good, is brought to pass by the sole desire and determination of God, who grants men the freedom (curses them with Total Depravity) to be as Evil as they ‘choose’ before punishing them for said ‘choices’.

        In order to demonstrate that he is not all bad, however, this Deterministic God selects a choice few which he intends to release from the curse of Total Depravity, regenerating or recreating them into new creatures who now will (not may, there is still no genuine choice) given the ‘gift’ of ‘faith’ and ‘believe’ in him. This ‘belief’ allows them to be declared ‘righteous’ while being allowed to indulge in the same sin as those who remain under the curse of death. This is ‘good news’ to those who wish to consider themselves ‘righteous’ while continuing to sin. It is not-so ‘good news’ to those who remain under the curse of Total Depravity, are never given the magic gift of regeneration, faith and compelled to ‘believe’ and be ‘saved’ from death and eternal punishment. They can only take heart that their eternally determined misery and punishment was designed to bring ‘glory’ to its Creator by revealing his ‘amazing grace’ to the ones he chose to redeem and save from similar, equally ‘deserved’ destruction. It is asserted that it is necessary to have the ‘reprobate’, intended for destruction, in order to demonstrate that ‘salvation’ cannot be earned or credited to the works of men, but is only possible by the generous, if limited, mercy of God.

        In attempting to understand the above, one quickly sees the necessity of redefining terms with meanings foreign to their intended and commonly understood definitions. By retaining the terminology of scripture, but granting entirely new, and often completely opposite meanings, the Determinist can claim strict adherence and allegiance to the ‘words’ of scripture.

        In contrast to this complex, elaborate system that demands intensive instruction and training to internalize and apply, the Free Will advocate asserts the simple understanding of God having created man with the genuine power of choice which he abused to invent Evil. If God is good, then Evil is the opposite of what God desires and commands; hence, it can never be something he desires or ordains.

        The Free Will advocate asserts that with genuine freedom of choice comes genuine responsibility for the result of that choice. This necessitated the institution of Law and punishment as well as atonement and grace. God set forth his will in the form of clearly understandable and observable commands, so that men would be forced to acknowledge that their acts were genuine choices. The Law was given so that man would clearly understand what sin is, and be utterly without excuse for continued resistance to God’s legitimate authority.

        This was not a mere exhibition of God’s authority, or a temper tantrum over man’s rebellion. Ultimately, and from before all creation, God had designed a plan to provide atonement for any freely chosen rebellion. Even more marvelous, he offered his beloved creatures the opportunity to respond to his genuine love, freely offered, in like manner. Man was given the choice to continue in his rebellion and self-destructive ways, or to submit to the legitimate, and loving, authority of his Creator, learning how to live in the constructive, life-producing manner God had always desired.

        Under this construct, Evil is the necessary possibility to genuine free choice. There can be no such thing as choice, unless more than one option is genuinely existent. This is Freedom, not Dualism. God’s command, spoken through Joshua to ‘choose you this day whom you will serve’ was not the result of a weak, less than sovereign Creator who could only beg men to do as he willed. Rather, it was the loving gift of genuine (though limited) autonomy to make meaningful free choices that had real effects in this world and in eternity.

        The assertion is that God freely chose to make weak, created, mortal men co-creators in his sovereign universe, rather than powerless puppets who would irresistibly do his bidding. He certainly could have created a world in which no other force would ever exist. Yet, in order for man to have genuine creative force, or free will, the possibility for rebellion, resistance and Evil had to exist. This does not, as Determinists insist, require that God desires, ordains or meticulously controls Evil, that is, the freely chosen actions of rebellious men. Free Will advocates do not deny that God foreknew that men would make the choices they make, but that he exerted any causal or controlling force upon them to make them.

        Nor does God’s foreknowedge and determination to allow the temporary existence of Evil make him the moral ‘cause’ of Evil, in the same manner that secretly plotting and ordaining Evil does. The genuine distinction is between God being the only, non-caused force in existence yet having miraculously created beings with a genuine power of creative force, or free choice, then allowing the genuine results of the exercise thereof. God’s power and control are uncreated and limitless; man’s power and control are limited to whatever ability and authority were granted to him by the only sovereign God.

        Whereas God neither desires nor ordains Evil, he has with great patience born with the wickedness of men, in his ardent desire that all have a chance to see and turn from self-chosen Evil. The message, the genuinely ‘good news’ that Jesus brought to men was that the long ago promised answer to ‘The Problem of Evil’ had arrived.

        Love – freely offered and freely accepted – is the only solution to Evil.

        Force, authoritarianism and tyranny can temporarily restrain some of the worst effects of man’s rebellion against God, but the only lasting solution to Evil is the belief and trust in the true Goodness of God. When we understand and believe that God is Good, that his every intention for every man is grounded in love, the desire to resist his will vanishes.

        Nor need men fear punishment for the sins they so long indulged in, for Jesus provided the propitiation, the necessary atonement for all sin. When we see Jesus lifted up on the cross, we are beholding ‘the lamb who taketh away the sin of the world’. Thus, with complete assurance of pardon and acceptance, all who believe in the goodness and grace demonstrated in Jesus’ self sacrifice can come to God. There is not even a question as to whether this love, atonement and grace was intended for them, as it was truly intended for ALL men, whosoever will believe in it and come. Nor is there any longer a need for a written ‘Law’, with the power of punishment, for the law of God will be written upon the heart of the child of God, and his very Spirit will lead him into understanding and willing obedience.

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      16. Mark this date TS00,

        Oct 5th, 2017 will be the date to refer to as to when you described / answered/ explained your position.

        That will not stop people from saying you never have….oh no.

        That will not stop people from calling you universalist, deceiver, heretic (sounding like they wish they could put you on the rack like Calvin did).

        What will happen is one sentence taken out of your whole, long explanation followed by 1-2 out-of-context verses, then followed by a cry of “omniscience” and “mystery”.

        Just telling you to be ready.

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      17. ts00 writes, “Both acknowledge an omniscient, omnipotent God, sovereign Creator and Ruler of the universe, hence, his ultimate knowledge of all things, past, present and future as human time perceives reality.”

        Decent start. However, while continuing to deal with omniscience (God’s ultimate knowledge), he ignores “omnipotent” and “sovereign.” I think that is significant. He doesn’t address these later from what I have read.

        Then, “This construct faces the serious problem that philosophers call ‘The Problem of Evil’.”

        I don’t know why ts00 brings this up The issue in the Problem of Evil is God’s benevolence and that issue is not in play here. Can we call this a red herring?

        Then, “It also quickly runs into direct contradiction to scripture, which describes a world in which weak, created, mortal beings rebel against their all-powerful, immortal Creator.”

        This is not true. It is God who gives people the freedom to disobey His commands – this brings in the use of “permit” or “allow” in arguments. There is no issue here with Calvinism.

        Then, “…all concepts that demand either genuine freedom of choice by the described actors…”

        Here we need a definition of “genuine” as applied to freedom of choice. Definitions are key to arguing against Calvinism. Does ts00 provide a definition?

        Then, “This is done via the well-known concept of ‘the end justifies the means’. ”

        To be accurate, God works all things after the counsel of His will. All is done for the glory of God – “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!…For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever.” (Romans 11)

        Then, “Human tyrants of every stripe have borrowed this concept to justify their own evil deeds.’

        God is good. As tyrants are depraved, they corrupted this concept for their purposes. Correct??

        Then, “In contrast to Divine Determinism are those who posit that the wholly Good and wholly sovereign God actually granted genuine freedom of action to the inferior, mortal creatures he called man.”

        Calvinists say the same thing leaving out the word, “genuine.” So, ts00 needs to define “genuine freedom” and show how it differs from Calvinist freedom.

        Then, “They assert that by his own free choice, God determined to place self-made limits upon his own otherwise unlimited power and authority in order to grant to the creature a measure of true autonomy.”

        Calvinists also say this except for the “true autonomy” reference – i.e., God can choose not to intervene in the affairs of people. ts00 conflates two terms, “freedom” and “autonomy” as he seems to treat them as synonyms and they are not. However, we now need a definition of “true autonomy” to figure out what ts00 is trying to argue.

        Then, “but merely the ability to govern and shape that which God created and put under their dominion, including self.”

        This is confused – God placed limits on His ability to govern or God limited the extent to which He would involve Himself in the affairs of people. Regardless, this does not appear to be different than the Calvinist position.

        Then “The non-determinist, or Free Will advocate,…”

        I did not see anything in this paragraph that differs from Calvinism.

        Then, “Determinists and non-determinists…their explanation for evil that marks the separation of worldviews between the two main camps, in which various differences on the details occur. Divine Determinist asserts that Evil is the deliberate and meticulously controlled offspring of the Creator God’s mind. He brought it into being, as he brought all things into being,…”

        ts00 is confused. He treats the term, “evil,” as a noun when it is an adjective. The term, “evil,” describes the nature of entities or their actions. It refers to things contrary to God’s will.

        Then, “[God] has complete authoritative, controlling power over [evil things] at all times.”

        Meaning that God is sovereign and can prevent any evil action. Does ts00 mean this?

        Then, “It is impossible to make this assertion without granting Dualism, thus Determinists appeal to non-deterministic language to avoid charges they cannot rebut.”

        Dualism posits two competing forces – Good and Evil – treating “evil” as a noun. Calvinists treat “evil” as an adjective with God defining what is evil by His will. Under Calvinism, God is not warring against a living entity called “Evil.” There is only one God, and all other entities are in subjection to God.

        Then, “The necessity for distraction, distortion and constant redefinition is created by Calvinism’s belief that God is actively ordaining and overseeing evil while intending to hold men responsible for it.”

        God oversees the activities of people, and holds them accountable for evil activities. God ordains the evil activities of people by ordaining that people be free to pursue evil activities without interference from HIm.

        Then, “…‘Compatibilism’ was birthed, in which logic must be suspended…”

        From what I can tell Compatibilism simply defines “freedom of will” as freedom from coercion. Where people act free of coercion that exercise free will. Nothing illogical in this.

        Then, “Compatibilism instructs its followers to believe the impossible, asserting that God is not constrained to the limits of human logic or that ‘God’s ways are higher than man’s’.”

        This makes no sense. Anyone know what this means?

        Then, “Thus, Compatibilism asserts both God’s controlling, deterministic power…”

        This is confused. Calvinists assert that man has a mind and is able to desire all sorts of sin. The evil actions of man come from his heart. God does not put evil thoughts into the mind of man – they are there because man is depraved and naturally thinks evil thoughts.

        Then, “In effect, the genuine free will that God gave to man, that which resulted in man genuinely producing Evil against God’s desire and will, is turned into a ‘fake’ free will that is actually, secretively, controlled by God.”

        False conclusion because you distort the Calvinist position to get to this conclusion.

        Then, “This ‘punishment’ for the ‘original sin’ curses all future men with a complete inability to choose Good, called ‘Total Depravity’. ”

        Translation: Under Calvinism, people are spiritually dead. Thus, in Romans 3, “There is none righteous, no, not one:…there is none that does good, no, not one.” All are sinners and all sin and only sin.

        Enough for now. However, the lack of definitions for key terms and clear distortions of Calvinist positions cause his arguments to say nothing substantive against Calvinism.

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      18. I understood exactly what truthseeker00 meant.
        And his statements followed the common flow of current Christian Philosophers on the issues that face Theological Fatalism/Determinism – the specter of evil that it faces – etc.

        The Calvinist response to these issues is simply double-speak masquerading as rational reasoning.

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  11. Rhutchin writes: “Calvinists say the same thing leaving out the word, “genuine.””

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. 🙂

    Seriously, if Calvinists acknowledged the ‘genuine’, i.e. commonly understood, meaning of the words they employ, they would be compelled to abandon their loveless system. To a Calvinist, ‘freedom’ can mean anything short of a gun at your back. ‘Choice’ can be that which someone else (God) irresistibly dictates. ‘Love’ can mean intentionally creating someone in order to destroy him. ‘Faith’ can mean something that can be wrapped with ribbon and distributed at will, rather than a personal response to a stated truth. ‘Evil’ becomes a matter of God’s opinion, rather than the objective opposite of Good (which is everything God is, not decides), hence the desire to restrict its use to an adjective. One could rightfully use the word ‘genuine’ before every word Calvinists write, to warn readers that their definitions are not to be trusted, but it would make the reading rather tedious.

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    1. TS00
      to go on…
      “Sovereign” means “necessarily” dictating every thought and action of every subject at all times.

      “Omniscient” means deciding ahead of time.

      “Omnipotent” does not mean “capable to stop evil is He chooses” but actually “the force behind all evil”

      Why?

      To honor God?

      Really?

      Since the Scriptures do not clearly teach things this way, why do we take in on ourselves to make God this way?

      Yes, we non-Calvinists are guilty. We are guilty of saying that the Bible teaches that God is a loving God and cares for all people. He knows all that He wants to know and does all that He wants to do….He is the creator.

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    2. Rhutchin writes: “Calvinists say the same thing leaving out the word, “genuine.””

      truthseeker00 notes:
      I couldn’t have said it better myself. 🙂

      br.d adds:
      Yes – in Calvinism’s case its called “shifting semantic weights”. :-]
      Word gaming is one of Calvinism’s primary powers.

      The old classic “shell game” is a wonderful analogy.
      The pea is a given word or term
      The shells are equivocal meanings

      The Calvinist (shell swapping) trick can be observed in a number of fashions:
      1) Swapping a “non-deterministic” word into sentences framed so the word masquerades as having “deterministic” meaning.
      2) Swapping a “deterministic” word into sentences framed so the word masquerades as having “non-deterministic” meaning.
      3) Swapping “compatibilist free will” words into sentences so that the word masquerades as having “libertarian free will” characteristics.
      4) Swapping “causal” words into sentences so that the word masquerades as having “non-causal” meaning.
      5) Swapping words such as “CAUSE” and “FATE” with words such as “ORDAIN” and “LOT” (respectively).

      Much of these semantic word games involves some form of “distancing” strategy.
      But the (shell swapping) process is essentially designed to trick the unsuspecting.

      As has been stated in the post: CALVINISM’S ALTRUISTIC DISHONESTY these tactics are done for the sake of the “target”.
      The Calvinist is convinced the “target” is protecting god’s honor – (AS-IF god needed a corrupted creature to do that)
      But the “target” is really a worldly power-base (i.e., the doctrinal system and its respected persons)
      For the sake of the “target” these tactics are fully justified – so the Calvinist is unable to discern them as dishonest.

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    3. ts00 writes, “Seriously, if Calvinists acknowledged the ‘genuine’, i.e. commonly understood, meaning of the words they employ, they would be compelled to abandon their loveless system.”

      That evades providing a definition of “genuine freedom of choice.” This is critical because no one has yet to define this term and neither can you. If it were commonly understood, a definition would be easy to develop. The problem is that people have a nebulous understanding of “genuine freedom of choice” or any free will other than that which is not coercive.

      Then, “To a Calvinist, ‘freedom’ can mean anything short of a gun at your back.”

      So long as it is coercive.

      Then, “‘Choice’ can be that which someone else (God) irresistibly dictates.”

      Not really. Christ is irresistible to His elect. Chocolate candy can be irresistible to some. That which is irresistible depends on the person’s desires and not another person’s dictates.

      Then, “‘Love’ can mean intentionally creating someone in order to destroy him.”

      Not really, which is why AW Pink concluded that God does not love all people. However, many people have difficulty with the idea that God loves everyone and God will condemn some of those He loves to hell. The usual resolution to this conundrum is to embrace Universalism. Isn’t it??

      Then, “‘Faith’ can mean something that can be wrapped with ribbon and distributed at will, rather than a personal response to a stated truth.”

      “Faith” is defined in Hebrews 11. It is not a personal response to truth but forms the substance for that response.

      Then, “‘Evil’ becomes a matter of God’s opinion, rather than the objective opposite of Good (which is everything God is, not decides), hence the desire to restrict its use to an adjective.”

      Wrong. God defines “evil” by His commands. If God does not declare something to be evil, then it is not evil. Regardless, evil does not exist apart from that which God describes as evil – it is an adjective (if we use the Scriptures to identify that which is evil). Can you argue your position from the Scriptures? Probably not, since you don’t try to do so.

      Then, “One could rightfully use the word ‘genuine’ before every word Calvinists write, to warn readers that their definitions are not to be trusted, but it would make the reading rather tedious.”

      And be no closer to distinguishing anything from the Calvinist concept. If you could, for example, define “genuine freedom of choice” as something distinct from Calvinist freedom of choice (not coercive), you would do so (and so could everyone else). You cannot, can you?

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  12. We often hear in these pages comments about how God’s sovereignty demands that He dictate every action and thought of all people at all times.

    I have been thinking about 2 things on this matter:

    1. We never see in the Bible or in human history that a sovereign king can dictate that all of his subjects do exactly as he says. Sure, a king/queen can do what he (or she) wants but that does not in any way mean that everything that his subjects do is what he wants. Where is there such an example of this?

    2. The sovereignty that is described by our Calvinist friends is dictatorial. Fine. Call Him dictator-sovereign. That is okay. But in all cases of dictators of this world, we never see dissenters get away with their dissent. So, at the same time as our Calvinist friends are describing God as a dictator, we are also seeing Him allow dissenters. Are there not millions of people who are dissenting –literally thumbing their noses, or flipping a finger at God? If He is the dictator-sovereign described by determinists, then surely He would not tolerate such behavior. Furthermore, if “sovereignty” means what they say it means then not only does He allow this thumbing, but he dictates it.

    So now we have a dictatorial-sovereign with complete control, not only allowing his creation to thumb their nose at Him but dictating that they do. That is not in any way the description of a king in the Bible or human history. Where is such a definition of sovereignty coming from?

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    1. Excellent Observation!!!

      Calvin’s doctrine can be seen as a form of governance known as monarchical absolutism, or simply absolutism, which Calvin has superimposed on God and His cosmos. In monarchical absolutism, a critical attribute of the monarch is “sovereignty”, and the doctrine asserts that the monarch cannot be held accountable to any humanly known standard of ethics.

      In most cases, the “DIVINE RIGHT OF UNACCOUNTABILITY” is said to be endowed upon the monarch by a God.

      In the Egyptian dynasty, the monarch was Pharaoh, and the god Horus. Shulgi of Sumeria, (21st century BC) declared himself divine. In Rome, Caesar was declared “Pontifex Maximus”, (Bridge builder between heaven and earth), which would be later ascribed to the Roman Pope. This “man-god ruler” model was the predominant form of governance world wide, throughout the human time-line until about the 19th century.

      During Calvin’s day, monarchical absolutism appeared in the form of the “The Divine Right Of Kings”, where it was asserted as a “doctrine of Grace” and defended by Protestants of the Reformation mostly for political reasons. It is quite possible Calvin simply saw a worldly form of government “absolutism” as a divine model and superimposed it onto his image of god.

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